Modern media influences have forced the Greek community to develop politically correct terms. Traditional terms such as “pledge,” “rush,” and “drop” have been replaced with “new member,” “recruitment,” and “depledge” in order to change their negative connotations. Nevertheless, Greeks still cannot shake their negative associations. Within the confines of Associated Content alone there are over ten articles that mercilessly attack the Greek system. Why?
The most common complaint regarding fraternity and sorority membership is the fear of hazing. Hazing by definition means subjecting a person or people to anything that endangers, mistreats as well as disgraces in order for that person or people to be accepted into their collective group. This may include harassment in a mental or physical form.
To most Americans, the word “hazing” is enough to whip them into a frenzy. Most do not understand what it truly entails and automatically assume that all hazing incidents result in death. An act of hazing could be a task as simple as requesting “new members” (commonly known as pledges) to make an art project.
Within the past decade, the media has seemingly focused itself on uncovering the dangerous aspects of fraternal membership, specifically hazing. A few weeks after my initiation, Gary DeVercelly, age 18, died at Rider University, in Trenton, NJ. His blood alcohol level was .426 after a celebratory pledge event. This event shocked the nation, and forced a hazing crack down across the nation.
The public needs to understand that fraternities and sororities were formed as selective organizations that require a certain level of dedication to enter. True, the atrocities that occur to young men and women each year because of hazing are the true definition of tragedy. True, the organizations that are responsible for these severely violent acts should be punished.
While there are many truths in pursuit of investigation of such hazing incidents, there is one truth that the media always over looks: new members choose to take part in these events. Even though most are barely over the age of eighteen, society should trust them enough to differentiate abusive treatment from friendly treatment. Furthermore, it should be common sense that consuming excessive amounts of alcohol is a dangerous idea.
The stupidity and lack of sense in our nation’s youth should not be the reason for the destruction of a centuries-old institution.stophazing.com